It’s a panther that pounces from the dark places, claws raking across your body, physical pain created from shadow. You’re suddenly on the ground, mind screaming, emotional wounds fresh and bloody. It feels like it came out of nowhere.
It’s a python, winding around you and taking your breath away. You feel like you’ll never breathe again. How did you manage to do it, before?
It’s a chameleon that changes its color, surprising you by seemingly showing up out of the blue. It’s always been there, just blended in. You only just realized it’s been there all day.
It’s a peacock, demanding attention with large displays and raucous calling. Notice me. You can’t help it. There is nothing in your life so important as this feeling.
It’s a spider on the wall, offering you a choice. Do you get up and kill it? Do you pretend it’s not there? Or do you gently scoop it up, carry it a moment, and set it down somewhere safer?
It’s a parasite, eating you from the inside, until you’re a malnourished shadow of your former self. You don’t notice its gradual effects, but your friends notice. To them it’s obvious.
It’s a mosquito, annoying and just out of swatting distance. It leaves a hundred tiny wounds, and they all itch. Sometimes, it’s satisfying to just scratch and scratch and scratch.
It’s a seeing eye dog, guiding you through your transition into a new life and showing you how important small moments are. A small bump to remind you not to go to the restaurant you had your first date in, don’t drive through the intersection where the accident happened, don’t listen to That Song. Not yet.
It’s a pigeon, showing up absolutely everywhere, making a total mess, and discouraged from existing at every turn. But sometimes. Sometimes? It’s nice to sit in the park and feed it for a little while anyway.
Eventually, it’s a fish in a tank – familiar and part of the background of your life, but occasionally you’ll notice a movement and turn your attention there. It’s no longer a panther, just a little colorful part of you, beautiful in its own way.
And always. Always. It’s the elephant in the room no one talks about.